Tag Archive: Motivation

  1. Maintaining the Motivation for Compassionate Care

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    Maintaining the Motivation for Compassionate Care

    You are the heroes of mental healthcare. You see it all – teens at their lowest, their highest, and those who want to die at their own hands. You chose this field because of the compassion you have for teens with substance use and mental health disorders, but what if that compassion wears thin? What do you do when that compassion runs out? How do you maintain the motivation for compassionate care?

    The Elements of Compassionate Care

    According to research presented in a 2020 Frontiers in Psychology review, “Compassion is among the most important virtues in medicine, expected from medical professionals, and anticipated by patients.” Compassionate care has been shown to be crucial to better outcomes for patients. Yet maintaining the motivation for compassionate care is one of the most challenging aspects of the job for health care providers, especially for those in the mental health industry.

    The word compassion comes from the Latin root “compati,” which means “to suffer with.” If you have chosen this industry, then clearly you have compassion for those suffering from mental health disorders. There are five basic elements to compassionate care:

    • Recognizing human suffering
    • Understanding human suffering
    • Feeling for the person suffering
    • Tolerating uncomfortable feelings
    • Motivation to alleviate human suffering

    These elements extend far beyond empathy, concern, and sympathy. Together, they create the motivation to act. Together, they demonstrate that you are willing to “suffer with” your clients. But what happens if you feel that slipping? What if you lose the motivation for compassionate care?

    Finding Your “Why” as a Provider

    One of the strongest motivators is finding your “why.” What was it that made you enter this field? Are you in recovery? Did you lose a family member or friend to drug or alcohol addiction, suicide, or other mental health crisis? What is it that gets you out of bed every day, that motivates you to keep doing this job when everything seems stacked against you?

    Having a “why” and knowing what it is that got you into this field will give you that rock, that foundation to come back to every time you feel like you are a little burned out in the area of compassion.

    Avoiding Compassion Burnout

    Some of the ways to avoid compassion burnout include:

    • Prioritizing breaks and vacations
    • Attending individual and group therapy or meetings for yourself
    • Setting clear boundaries between work and home
    • Practicing gratitude, including a gratitude journal
    • Connecting with peers
    • Maintaining friendships and other relationships outside of work
    • Building your support network
    • Seeking serenity, courage, and wisdom, such as the words from The Serenity Prayer, attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr:
      God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    As you actively seek to avoid compassion burnout, you will find solutions that will help you maintain your motivation for compassion, including self-care and self-compassion.

    Recharging Your Batteries

    Using self-care is something you teach your clients, but are you guilty of letting your batteries run out? With growing caseloads and shrinking funding, it may seem like you do not have time to recharge your batteries and practice self-care. Yet you teach your young clients that to be able to care for others, you have to take care of yourself first.

    Self-care can be the daily things you do for yourself, including:

    • Good diet
    • Exercise
    • Good sleep hygiene
    • Mindfulness meditation/yoga

    However, self-care can extend to making time to find things that fuel you and keep you passionate about life and your work. You may take only 15 to 30 minutes a day for this self-care, but find something that inspires you, such as:

    • Gardening
    • Cooking/eating new foods
    • Reading new books
    • Learning a new skill such as dancing, repairing broken objects, learning a new language, etc.
    • Pick up an old hobby, even one from childhood
    • Find shared hobbies with a partner, your child, or someone close to you

    The list of self-care possibilities is endless. As you refuel your batteries, you will find the motivation again to offer compassion to your clients.

    Practicing Self-Compassion

    Practice what you preach. If your compassion tank is running on empty for your clients, look inward and see if you are exercising self-compassion. Are you offering yourself the same type of loving, caring kindness that you would show to a dear friend or loved one? Especially the kind of compassion you would extend to them in a time of crisis?

    When you can look in the mirror and have compassion for yourself, understanding that the job you have is very, very difficult, but very, very important, you can maintain and extend that same compassion to the human beings you call clients.

    Maintaining the motivation for compassionate care is one of the most difficult aspects of working with teens in the mental healthcare industry. By finding your “why,” taking steps to avoid burnout, practicing self-care, and finding your self-compassion, you will be able to maintain the level of compassion that brought you into this job in the first place. At Sustain Recovery, our staff offers compassionate care to teens with substance use and mental health disorders. Our unique extended residential care offers clients the opportunity to gradually return to their lives on their schedule. Our tough love is served with compassion as we allow our clients to buy into their recovery. Our Irvine, California, program is also unique in that we specialize in clients who have struggled to succeed at other programs. Contact us today at (949) 407-9052 if you have a client who you think may benefit from our program.

  2. Inspiring Motivation Through Change

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    Inspiring Motivation Through ChangeRecovery begins with change. Somewhere in their life, a person in recovery has decided their habits aren’t working anymore and they need to make a change. This decision is a fundamental component of addiction recovery. Still, wanting to change is much different than actually changing – and many addicts require a lot of extra support to get to the point where they can make active changes.

    What’s more, patients sometimes come to recovery through a court mandate or a parent’s ultimatum. How can a provider motivate a teen or adolescent who doesn’t even think they need to change? Understanding the process of behavioral changes is critical to inspiring motivation in these types of patients.

    Stages of Change

    The “Stages of Change” model was first introduced in the 1970s. It attempted to explain the process of change in humans as occurring in stages and not all at once. So two researchers – James Prochaska, Ph.D. and Carlo DiClimente, Ph.D. – set out to define these stages. They tested and refined the model until it became the most widely-used and accepted model in addiction treatment.

    The model describes the six stages of change as follows:

    • Pre-Contemplation: The person is aware they have an addiction and are aware of its harmful effects. Still, they have little motivation for changing as they view using as more beneficial than sobriety.
    • Contemplation: The person is aware of the adverse effects that using is causing them. They see sobriety as the most effective option – however, they may lack confidence in their change.
    • Preparation: The person acknowledges responsibility for change in their behavior. They may begin developing a plan, asking for support, or building confidence.
    • Action: The person consciously makes an effort towards changing their behaviors. This can include going to rehab or engaging in self-directed change efforts.
    • Maintenance: The person has developed self-control and healthier behavioral patterns. They can maintain these changes with less effort as well.
    • Termination: The person has established full lifestyle and behavior changes. They don’t succumb to urges or impulses and make healthier life decisions.

    It’s important to remember that relapse can occur at any stage in this model. Furthermore, not all patients come to rehab out of their own will. Sometimes, especially in the case of youths, they are mandated by a court or their parent(s) gives them an ultimatum. It is not their internal dialogue that is motivating them – it is their external environment.

    This means they usually enter treatment at Stage 1 or Stage 2. In this case, the purpose of therapy should be developing motivation rather than trying to change behaviors. One way this can be achieved is through motivational interviewing (MI).

    Motivational Interviewing

    MI is a technique in which a trained interviewer becomes a facilitator of the change process and expresses acceptance towards an addict. MI has two primary goals: 1) to increase a person’s motivation and 2) to guide the person towards a commitment to change. MI works just like any other therapy session. A motivational interviewer tries to influence a dialogue towards why the person needs or wants to change. This method can be effective for those who do not voluntarily seek treatment, as the interviewer reflects the person’s thoughts back to them to initiate introspective thinking.

    Empathy is an integral part of MI. It establishes a safe and accepting environment that allows a person to examine their behaviors and talk about their addiction. An empathetic approach to MI involves listening rather than telling, offering sincere compliments rather than criticism, encouraging a non-judgmental collaborative attitude, and communicating respect for the addict. Motivational Interviewing is more successful when there is a relationship of trust between the interviewer and patient.

    Supporting Self-Efficacy

    A person’s belief in their own ability to change is essential in motivation toward addiction recovery. Self-education is one way to foster self-efficacy. Credible, understandable, and timely information helps people understand how their addiction drives some of their behaviors or impacts their life. This gives them an idea of where to start changing their behaviors. They begin to see which actions trigger their cravings the most, or which ones help them overcome their triggers the best.

    There are a few techniques to help support self-efficacy in recovery:

    • Give the patient hope by explaining there is no “right way” to change.
    • Help the patient believe that they can improve by inquiring about other successful changes they’ve made in the past and complimenting their success.
    • Explore barriers that may cause low self-confidence in patients such as trauma or psychological issues.
    • Share examples of others’ success in addiction recovery. No one wants to feel like they are the only one experiencing something.

    Ultimately, teens and adolescents need an empathetic, non-judgmental entity that will help them develop motivation toward recovery. A motivational interviewer becomes this person as they approach their patient with respect and act as a reflector of thoughts and behaviors. It’s also vital that patients understand their role in recovery as an active player – they are responsible for their own success. By supporting them with empathy and education, we can help them overcome their own ambivalence.

    To learn more about motivational-based therapies and how they can be used to foster recovery and improved mental health, contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.

  3. Using Experiential Treatments to Foster Motivation

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    Using Experiential Treatments to Foster MotivationExperiential therapy recreates experiences that bring subconscious feelings, urges, or behaviors into a person’s conscious awareness. It’s hard to create a formal definition of experiential therapy because so many therapeutic methods can be used. There are a lot of misconceptions about experiential treatment for this very reason.

    Whatever technique is used, experiential therapy should provide insight into the nature of a person’s behaviors and feelings. It’s important to remember that these techniques should not be used in addiction recovery on their own. Instead, they are supplemental techniques intended to promote motivation and success in recovery.

    Music Therapy

    Music therapy is beneficial to addiction recovery because music inspires feelings in people. The energy of music can quickly affect a person’s mental state. If a patient is having trouble expressing how they feel in therapy, music allows them to pick songs and sounds that help reflect their emotions. This is one of many reasons why music therapy is beneficial for treating substance abuse, as well as anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.

    Research has shown that music can relax muscles, calm anxiety, and create stronger interpersonal skills. Realistically, any emotional traumas or mental health issues should be addressed in recovery, and music therapy has proven to be useful in mental health settings.

    The techniques used in music therapy may include:

    • Lyric analysis
    • Relaxation training
    • Songwriting
    • Musical games
    • Improvising music based on emotions or other topics

    These techniques have numerous benefits ranging from positive emotional changes to reduced anger in patients. A research study conducted in 2014 showed that music therapy is used more frequently in settings where the patients are predominantly women and adolescents. Children may have a difficult time understanding their emotions well enough to adequately explain them to a therapist. Music therapy encourages creativity as a way of presenting their feelings, which can be an effective motivator toward changing their behaviors.

    Wilderness Therapy

    Sometimes referred to as adventure therapy, wilderness therapy is all about self-discovery. This type of therapy is especially useful for behavioral modification, helping people become aware of how they process experiences and what emotional triggers influence their thought process. Wilderness therapy is commonly used among adolescents and young adults but it can benefit anyone.

    Wilderness therapy is often not considered formal treatment from the patient’s standpoint – to them, it feels like a break from treatment. This may encourage them to express themselves more and feel more relaxed in a therapy session. They may also be able to make connections with a part of themselves they think they lost. The research in support of wilderness therapy is mostly positive, though limitations are recognized. These shortcomings include certain physical limitations.

    Those who suffer from ADHD show fewer benefits, and people with severe mental health issues like psychosis should not be involved in wilderness therapy. Also, patients dealing with violent tendencies or anger must be carefully supervised during this type of treatment. The primary goal of wilderness therapy is to help a person reflect on their experiences and relate them to any issues in their life, such as a substance use disorder. This process can be a strong motivator for adolescents and adults to become active in their recovery.

    Service Dogs and Animal Therapy

    Many adolescents and young adults who struggle with substance abuse disorders report feeling isolated and alone. Animal therapy helps them build healthy connections with others and also helps them relieve anxiety or hesitation about receiving treatment. This particular type of therapy has great promise when used in adolescent and youth inpatient and day rehabs.

    Introducing animals to therapy sessions can help promote better communication between patients and their providers. A love for animals can also create better interpersonal skills in therapy, which is vital to a sustainable recovery. Studies confirm that animal therapy relieves the physiological effects of stress and anxiety in adolescents and young adults. Some children and young adults need a soft touch to feel comforted, but physical contact between the patient and therapist may be inappropriate.

    Having animals in therapy sessions gives patients that nurturing touch that may help open up their feelings. Introducing animals in therapy settings can also positively transform their environment while building rapport between the therapist and patient, which may motivate a child to take a more active role in therapy sessions. Again, there are limitations to animal therapy.

    Therapists should always consider what is best for their patients before introducing such experiential therapies. Patients who have animal phobia would obviously not benefit from animal therapy. Furthermore, patients with violent tendencies who may pose a threat to the animal should not be involved with animal therapy. This is not a one-size-fits-all technique and should be applied with serious discretion.

    Applying These Benefits to Recovery

    In terms of motivating a patient in recovery, experiential therapy has an abundance of benefits. It helps relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety about treatment. It also helps build strong relationships between therapists and patients. There are many different types of experiential therapies available for addiction recovery. While some of these techniques are not widely accepted as a form of treatment on their own, they can be used to supplement the therapies used in more conventional programs. Take this opportunity to learn more, assess the patient’s needs, and determine if these therapies can help.

    If you find experiential treatments intriguing and would like to know more about the techniques applied to addiction recovery, we can help guide you in the best direction. Contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.

  4. Motivating Kids Into Recovery

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    Motivating Kids Into RecoveryDealing with children in addiction recovery can be tricky. Their motivations may lie in the wrong places, or they may have no motivation whatsoever. Many youths do not see their drug use as an issue and may be in denial about their addiction. It is essential to motivate children to be mindful of their health and seek treatment for substance abuse if and when it’s needed. One way to do this is Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT), a treatment model that focuses on the addict’s family as well as community engagement.

    How Does CRAFT Work?

    CRAFT teaches family and friends successful strategies for helping their child change their behavior and feel better about themselves. CRAFT works to affect a child’s behavior by changing how their family interacts with them, and vice versa. This treatment model is designed to help by:

    • Assisting families in motivating their child to seek treatment
    • Reducing alcohol and drug use, whether or not your child has sought treatment yet
    • Improving the lives of family and friends.

    CRAFT helps families foster a non-judgmental attitude towards their loved ones struggling with addiction. It teaches that detachment and confrontation are unhealthy to both the family and the child. CRAFT has been proven to be more effective than interventions or leveraging.

    Another aspect of CRAFT is community reinforcement. The therapeutic practices of CRAFT are adapted from the Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA). CRA is a psychosocial intervention for individuals with alcohol and other drug use disorders. It has been adapted for several populations, including adolescents and family members of individuals who are resistant or reluctant to enter treatment. The focus is to help children find healthier ways to deal with their social or emotional needs without using drugs or alcohol.

    In CRAFT, children are asked to invite a person who may be affected by their drug use, usually a parent or sibling. This is helpful for providers to understand triggers a child may have that influence their drug use. During treatment, children and families learn useful skills to meet their recovery goals, including communication, problem-solving, and self-care. These skills remain helpful in the long term for both families and children struggling with addiction.

    Evidence in Support of CRAFT

    The first studies on CRAFT were completed in 1986. These studies showed that six out of seven family members using the CRAFT model could get their loved ones to enter treatment. Typically, it took them about seven sessions to achieve this. Loved ones also cut their number of drinking days in half during the time their family members were training in CRAFT.

    Since then, other studies have been done to analyze the success of CRAFT in teen addiction recovery. When compared to programs such as AL-ANON and the Johnson Institute Intervention, CRAFT was substantially more effective. It produced three times as much engagement as the other conventional approaches, and two-thirds of resistant patients attended treatment. These results were able to be replicated in at least two more studies concerning the success of CRAFT compared to traditional treatment models.

    Overall, the studies show that a family’s engagement rate in CRAFT is significantly higher than other treatment models. CRAFT teaches families invaluable skills to cope with the psychological issues that stem from a family member’s substance abuse. For parents, this model shows more engagement partly because the family is encouraged to join the child in treatment. This method applies to all cultural, ethnic, and religious groups, making it more universally successful than other models.

    Why Is CRAFT More Successful?

    Theories on why CRAFT is so successful are plentiful. First, it is believed that teaching social-learning skills helps children reconnect with their peers and families in a healthy way. Unlike traditional interventions, CRAFT is non-confrontational. Families do not confront their loved ones to break through their denial – instead, they learn how to set appropriate boundaries. In CRAFT, families also learn practical skills that can be used to disengage themselves from the pattern of their loved one’s use. They are able to invite changes in their loved ones while changing their own lives at the same time.

    CRAFT also teaches important communication skills. Families are taught how to take advantage of windows of opportunity for having difficult conversations and how to talk about treatment in a way that makes it more appealing and interesting to their loved ones. The high rate of addicted children who seek treatment after participating in CRAFT indicates that these methods are indeed successful.

    To learn more about CRAFT and how it can help families struggling with substance abuse, contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.

The people at Sustain Recovery are truly passionate about their work. They put all their love, energy and spiritual strength in to it. They continue to support me today as I continue my ongoing journey in my personal recovery. I now have over a year of sobriety, my own apartment, a job, true friends and a support network that is always available to me. Although all that stuff is great, what matters most today is that I love myself and have the ability to love others. Thank you to all who had a hand and heart in Sustain Recovery

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